Aim High Shoot Low

December 7, 2017 • 5 minute read • by Saeed

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” ~ Muhammad Ali

I’ve obsessed over and studied the back stories of hundreds of successful people. When you are just looking through the shop window, everything looks nice. The ones who made it look like they did so in big leaps and bounds. But most overnight success stories were years in the making. If you want to be an overnight success, you have to do everyday work.  

The deeper insight into how these people leveled up their game is that they were not married to their idea. They were married to the hustle to bring their idea to market. And they didn’t get there in one big leap of faith, but in one small step at a time.

Work is the push…

In the movie Any Given Sunday, the motivational coach is played by Al Pacino. His team is down. The game is a make or break. In his speech , Pacino focuses the team not on the yards they have to gain but on the inches they have to push forward. He says:

“You find out that life is just a game of inches.

So is football.

Because in either game life or football the margin for error is so small.

I mean one half step too late or to early you don’t quite make it.

One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it.

The inches we need are everywhere around us.

They are in ever break of the game

every minute, every second.”

The team is motivated because they can get their head around the idea of moving the ball in these incremental steps. If Pacino had just said to them, you’re great now go out there and win, it would not have worked. Instead, he focused them on the idea that winning is about making progress and continually improving “inch by inch” with small steps and tasks done with full effort.  The speech is regularly used in courses about public speaking, rhetoric, coaching, and teamwork.

Inspiration is the Pull…

In 1961, President Kennedy knew that if America wanted to stay on the forefront of innovation, exploration of space was key. He also knew that the nation needed an inspirational pull towards that vision.

So when he said to the nation,”…I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” he was providing the country with a motivational stretch goal.

Brands have been doing this consistently through the decades:

In the 1960s, Nike vowed to crush Adidas,

In the 1970s Honda set its’ sights on ‘destroying’ Yamaha,

In 1990, Wal-Mart declared it would become a $125 billion company by the year 2000,

Microsoft’s was to put a computer on every desk in every home,

Stanford set out to be the Harvard of the west,

Amazon set out to make available every book ever printed, in any language in less than 60 seconds, and

Starbucks set its sights on becoming the most recognized and respected consumer brand in the world. 

Big dreams and stretch goals cause us to expand our vision and our imagination. In doing so, we have to confront the reality of the basic foundation we need to get us there. If that foundation is not strong enough, then we have to gain the skills, knowledge or resources we need to strengthen it so that it can hold the weight of the goal.

There is little time to waste with so much to achieve. We have to focus our attention. We have to take responsibility for our mistakes. Self-pity and doubt slows our movement. Distractions take us off course. We have to stop procrastinating. We have to become efficient learners and execution machines.

When we do this, something magical and more significant starts to happen. It doesn’t even matter whether we achieve the big goal or not because we have achieved an arguably greater victory. We have revolutionized ourselves.

One Final Word…

Transformational change only happens through consistent and sustained effort. That takes the power of habit and the discipline of focus. It takes the unity of the right mindset with the right mechanism.

It’s okay if your goals and dreams scare you a little as long as they excite you a lot. So think big my friends and act in small incremental steps each day to get you to where you want to go.

Good luck.

Wait! Before you go…

I really appreciate that you are reading my post. If you found it helpful and/or if it helped you think a little more deeply about a topic, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn or subscribe to read exclusive content on my BLOG.

Why would you follow me?

I write personal and professional development articles to help readers be the most effective human being they can be; in short, to help you find your inner awesomeness. By liking, commenting, sharing, and following, you are encouraging me to keep going. It is my direct feedback loop that tells me that I am providing value to you.

I also love connecting with new people and seeing what others are up to in the world.

Last thing, if you liked this post, consider checking out my other recent posts for inspiration and concrete actions steps to become more effective at work and life.



©2017 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A.

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